Richard Spring, MP for Suffolk West, is close to success after ten years of campaigning to stop the carnage on the A11 road that runs through his constituency.
The A11, which leads into Norfolk, is one of the most treacherous and congested roads in the region and has claimed many lives over the years. For thirty years a plan has existed to resolve the problem by dualling it, and bypassing the village of Elveden, but no work has started on the road as yet.
Ten years ago, the Government promised to act after it conducted a review to see where priorities should lie for road-building. The A11 was identified as one of the most dangerous road in the region and improvements were planned. However, after the review, the responsibility for prioritising the A11 project was moved to the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) and no further progress was made.
Richard was involved with meetings ten years ago and has been campaigning for progress, with parliamentary colleagues, local councillors and constituents, ever since. Richard met with then-Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly MP in May 2008 and has raised the issue numerous times in the House of Commons.
Richard has also taken his fight to local newspapers Norwich Evening News, Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, Bury Free Press, East Anglian Daily Times, Newmarket Journal and Cambridge Evening News, to highlight the importance of the campaign and gain extra support.
In November 2008, progress was finally made. Along with local councillor Daniel Cox and neighbouring MP Christopher Fraser, Richard took a petition calling for a dualled A11, with more than 15,000 signatures from residents and business people, to the Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon MP. Richard then teamed up with Charles Clarke MP and met in person with Geoff Hoon, who gave a firm commitment for the dualling of the A11.
Following the meeting, a timetable has been set out, funding has been secured and preliminary work should start in 2010. The road will hopefully be up and running by 2012/2013. If there is no public inquiry and if issues with those opposing the plans can be resolved, then the timetable could be brought forward by about 6 months.
Richard says: “”I have spent my entire parliamentary life fighting to get the A11 dualled. I am very grateful to my parliamentary colleagues, local councillors and others for their support, particularly in the last eighteen months. The history of this stretch of the A11 is one of carnage, terrible crashes, impossible congestion and environmental degradation, and has presented huge difficulties for our emergency services. I am absolutely delighted that finally this campaign appears to have been successful.
If you know of a dangerous road in your area, let Brake know by calling our Zak the zebra hotline on 08000 68 77 80, and Brake could help you campaign for road safety improvements.